You’ve run a successful business for years, building up a recognizable and respected brand. Your clients are complimentary, loyal, and reach out to your company without hesitation whenever they are in need. So, nothing to worry about, right?
Not so fast.
While you may have noteworthy brand assets and appeal, the truth is there is more to a brand and its status in the market today than just a nice logo. Namely, how well a brand utilizes ambassadors, thought leaders, and influencers.
Every Employee is an Ambassador
Everyone who works at a company should think of themselves as an ambassador.
The equity you have built over all your years in business is, in fact, an asset you can leverage. It’s a significant part of your brand—your longevity proves that you are reliable and trustworthy. But one wrong move by an employee can call that into question. Everything your employees do, every single day, has a positive or negative effect on the brand. (No pressure).
This can be as simple as looking professional or wearing company uniforms, or as in-depth as educating employees on your brand’s why so whenever they’re asked “What do you do for a living?” they have a compelling response at the ready.
Empowering your employees to be good brand ambassadors can go a long way toward building trust and goodwill among your current and potential customers.
Thought Leaders Can Change The Industry
Some employees have the potential to be more than ambassadors. They might have expertise that even other exports are interested in. Such knowledge is in limited supply and is therefore highly valuable. So how important is it to have these employee thought leaders, and why do they matter?
Thought leadership goes hand-in-hand with industry leadership. If you are viewed as a thought leader, then you often have the ability to alter the direction of an entire segment of business (think Steve Jobs and Apple). We are probably all familiar with TED talks and how they have changed how many consume large quantities of information.
The most difficult aspect of this format for businesses to get behind is that thought leaders often give this information away for free. How can it be possible that giving away free information could have any equal benefit? The reality is it’s important to be viewed as not just capable (like everyone else), but as a leader in your industry for numerous (and intangible) reasons:
- Your clients will often shift to a higher level of loyalty when they believe they are supporting a leading brand.
- Leading brands become part of a lifestyle and garner special treatment—including, for example, acceptance of higher prices because of their superior quality and beliefs.
- The truth is you aren’t giving away free information, even if it feels like it. You are confirming for your clients that you are, in fact, the expert you say you are, allowing them to choose you with even greater confidence.
Every employee should act as an ambassador and hope to become a thought leader.
Influencers Can Reach Farther
Influencers are a far newer concept than the previous two categories. More importantly, influencers don’t have to be directly affiliated with a company or brand and can connect brands with consumers in ways that aren’t always easy to quantify.
Paid influencers, for example,¨ can use social media to affect a brand’s “coolness” factor. They can instantly improve a brand’s trustworthiness simply by using that product in an Instagram photo or mentioning a brand name on Twitter. (To say nothing of the instances where a single post goes viral!)
Many brands use influencers to reach younger demographics across multiple platforms. Employees can also become influencers by utilizing blogs or podcasts to provide helpful tips and other information. Considering ways to work with influencers can give your brand an added boost by broadening its visibility, credibility, appeal, and reach.
More Than A Logo
Award-winning graphic designer Paul Rand once said that “design is the silent ambassador of your brand”—and there’s no question that is true, and should not be undersold.
However, these other modern methods of brand building—like ambassadors, influencers, and thought leaders—may have significant cost benefits in the short term, or in tandem with quality design. These three roles can benefit (or harm!) even the most established brands, so it’s a great idea to plan on factoring them in whenever you assess your brand position in the market.
No matter what industry you’re in, your brand can benefit from having ambassadors, thought leaders, and influencers. Not sure how to get there? Drop us a line—our team at St. Gregory can help guide you and develop a strategy to make your business top of mind for new potential clients.